"We feel it will be the beginning of something special"
YALA Records, the label founded by former Maccabees‘ guitarist Felix White, have announced details of their first UK tour. Check out full dates and details below, along with an exclusive playlist.
Following on from their 19 sold-out club nights, curating their own stage at London’s All Points East Festival, and releasing records from The Magic Gang, Willie J Healey, Whenyoung and Egyptian Blue and more, YALA Records will be hitting the road for the first time with rising acts Chinatown Slalom, Jacob Slater and ST. MARTiINS all rotating set positions on each night of the tour.
“We’ve handpicked a three band bill of new acts that we consider to not just be the most exciting in the country, but who also represent a diverse cross-section of music being made at the moment,” said White. “We feel it will be the beginning of something special. Come and join us and celebrate with the best new music around!”
To celebrate, White curated this special playlist for NME of the best music from the YALA clubnights so far.
A selection of picks from Felix and Morad, updated weekly!
We also asked Felix a quick few questions about what to expect…
How would you describe a typical YALA night?
“YALA! at Bermondsey Social Club is where people come to laugh, dance, and watch new music they know stands a fair chance of being irreplaceable in their record collections in the next year, but generally to celebrate for no reason other than it’s Friday. The bands that have played in the past have not only become part of this country’s most loved groups, but always return to hang out (Idles, Yak, Whenyoung, Magic Gang etc) and there are always ‘big name’ DJ’s (Foals, Florence, Wolf Alice, Nadine Shah etc) who generally are well versed in the spirit of community at YALA! It’s normally advisable to have booked the rest of the weekend off. We’re proud to be growing it across the country in the image of our South London beginnings. Glasgow and Manchester have both become little hubs for breaking new music but also a rare space where bands and music lovers all congregate simultaneously.”
What do YALA! look for in a band before choosing to work with them?
“We look for nothing more than a group or artist that somehow makes us feel like the world is a slightly better place for having them in it! It would be easy to describe why you like a certain band, then identity exactly the same traits in another but not feel the same way. For us, it’s about instinct and the music and people inspiring a fan-ish passion in us.”
What is that you love about the three bands on this tour and what sets them apart?
“We were really drawn to the idea of putting on a moving show through the country that was housing acts both from across the country and with such varied aesthetics. In each, there’s an element of what YALA! is. Jacob Slater, from London, is truly a songwriter of serious reverence in waiting. His music could be dropped off in any decade and in any context and still standout as very special. We feel like we will be presenting people with a very precious little secret when he takes to the stage. Chinatown Slalom, from Liverpool, made a pretty astonishing debut this year of patchwork, sample-infused high energy oddball pop music that we love. The Glaswegian representatives St. Martiins are a vital part of a seemingly constant stream of well loved groups from there infinite potential. We think they will all rub off each other in an intriguing way to make for a line-up that no-one will believe happened in a years time.”
You’d probably tell anyone claiming that guitar music is dead to do one, right?
“You just hope that the good stuff survives. In time it does, but it’s about giving it the time it deserves when it’s happening. One thing that has become really clear at YALA! is that groups are tending to just pick a direction and run with it with a sense of purpose and conviction. We rarely get guitar bands through that sound totally alike, but in the last two years especially, it’s been mind-blowing that young groups can take an old theme or framework you thought you’d tired of, and bring it back into technicolour for you as if you’re experiencing it for the first time.”
What else is in the pipeline for YALA Records in 2020?
“We are bracing ourselves currently for our biggest year yet. Willie J Healey is due to put out an album with us, which is something we are bursting to share. There will be a fair few more full albums too. We feel like we’ve spent our years growing incrementally towards a point. 2020 might be that and should be pretty definitive for us at YALA! with both the live nights and records we’re putting out.”
The YALA UK tour dates are below.
December 4 – Glasgow, McChuills
Support: Jacob Slater
Opener: Chinatown Slalom
Get tickets here
December 5 – Manchester, YES
Headliner: Chinatown Slalom
Opener: Jacob Slater
Get tickets here
December 6 – London, Peckham Audio
Headliner: Jacob Slater
Support: Chinatown Slalom
Get tickets here